The Fresno Mayor’s Civic Academy inaugural cohort graduates recognized at the Fresno City Council meeting on February 23, 2023. (Pictured: OCA Civic Academy graduates with Mayor Jerry Dyer, Deputy Mayor Matthew Grundy and OCA liaisons.)
Twenty-five resident participants joined the Office of Community Affairs Civic Academy’s inaugural class. Academy graduates received certificates and recognition at the Feb. 23, 2023 City Council meeting.
Fresno City Mayor, Jerry Dyer commended graduates’ achievement, “I am very proud of this first group of Civic Academy graduates. They are taking the first step to learn and be engaged in what happens in our city. Their participation coincides with our One Fresno vision, where people are at the center of our city government.”
Civic Academy teaches city government basics
Academy resident participants joined the civic engagement learning sessions in September 2023 for four monthly two-hour sessions where they learned about Fresno’s strong mayor form of government, reading city council agendas and the basics of municipal boards and commissions. The Civic Academy also hosted representatives from several municipal departments who led presentations on basic city functions and services provided to the public. Presenting city departments included:
- Fresno Police and Fresno Fire
- Code Enforcement
- Economic Development
- Planning and Development
- Public Works and Public Utilities
The city’s Planning and Development department was among the municipal divisions that offered presentations during the Civic Academy sessions. Sophia Pagoulatos, Fresno Planning and Development Department Planning Manager led her department’s in-person information session. “Community perspective on the different activities carried out by our city is so important. They bring their own unique lens and expertise on their neighborhoods and spaces. Information like that provided by the Civic Academy widens their view on our city,” said Pagoulatos.
Civic Academy as key engagement tool Civic Academy graduates were surprised to learn about the many municipal functions that city departments carry out each day. “It was so interesting to learn about the many things that must happen each day to make our city work. Learning about it in the Civic Academy, it was evident that many hands lighten heavy loads and now our hands will also be available to help,” said Kina McFadden, Fresno city resident and Civic Academy graduate.
The Civic Academy was designed and organized by the Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs, under Deputy Mayor Matthew Grundy’s leadership. “We see the academy as a key civic engagement tool that makes city hall accessible to all residents. This was just the first class of two annual cohorts our Office of Community Affairs will be hosting. We look forward to welcoming new resident participants,” said Deputy Mayor Grundy. As a result of OCA outreach efforts, between 2021 and 2022, our city has experienced a 2 percent increase in civic engagement.
Future participation opportunities
The Spring 2023 Civic Academy has recruited nearly 100 resident participants for its March to June sessions. Residents interested in registering for the Fall 2023 OCA Civic Academy, please contact: [email protected]
information on the mural, contact the Office of Community Affairs at (559) 621-7923